Gun attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo kills 12

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The victims, who include two police officers, were killed after hooded gunmen attacked the Paris office of the French satirical magazine.

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Gunmen have attacked the Paris office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people and injuring seven, French officials say, reports the BBC.

At least two masked attackers opened fire with assault rifles in the office and exchanged shots with police in the street outside before escaping by car.

President Francois Hollande said there was no doubt it had been a terrorist attack "of exceptional barbarity".

A major police operation is under way in the Paris area to catch the killers.

The latest tweet on Charlie Hebdo's account was a cartoon of the Islamic State militant group leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The satirical weekly has courted controversy in the past with its irreverent take on news and current affairs.

The magazine was fire-bombed in November 2011 a day after it carried a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad.

People had been "murdered in a cowardly manner", President Hollande told reporters at the scene. "We are threatened because we are a country of liberty," he added, appealing for national unity.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said in a tweet: "The murders in Paris are sickening. We stand with the French people in the fight against terror and defending the freedom of the press."

Read more of this report from the BBC.

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